France has rejected, on Friday 11/19/2010, demands by MAGHREB al-Qaeda – AQIM that it should negotiate the release of five French hostages and two others with Osama Bin Laden.

Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said France would not let its policy be dictated from outside. The hostages were seized at a uranium mine in Niger on 09/21/2010 (see – Arlit 09.21.10).

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) leader Abdelmalek Droukdel [known as Abu Musab Abdul-Wadud] also called for French troops to leave Afghanistan.

In an audio recording believed to have been made by Abdul-Wadud and broadcast by the al-Jazeera satellite network, he said France should “hasten and take your soldiers out of Afghanistan according to a specific timetable that you announce officially” (see also – Petraeus W Plan).

Analysts say calling for troop withdrawals was a traditional demand, but the reference to Bin Laden was new and meant to demonstrate a sort of coordination and affiliation between Al Qaeda branches and offshoots in the world.
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